Top 10 Songs About Rain

Couple in the Rain with Guitar
Photo by Constantinis / Getty Images

What is it about rain that inspires pop songwriters? Rain songs are some of the most memorable and intensely emotional of pop hits. These are 10 of the best. They are of course best listened to with the patter of raindrops on your window pane.

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Brook Benton - "Rainy Night In Georgia" (1970)

Brook Benton Rainy Night In Georgia
Courtesy Atlantic Records

With the single line, "I believe it's rainin' all over the world," soul legend Brook Benton brings the melancholy spirit of the rain home. When Benton recorded "Rainy Night In Georgia," it had been six years since his last top 10 pop hit single. This record was intended as Benton's comeback record on his new label Cotillion, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, went to #4 on the pop singles chart in 1970 and was certified gold for sales of one million copies. It also reached #2 on the adult contemporary chart and "Rainy Night In Georgia" was included on the album Brook Benton Today, the singer's highest charting peaking at #27 on the album chart.

"Rainy Night In Georgia" was initially written by Louisiana singer-songwriter Tony Joe White in 1967. He recorded it and released it on his 1969 album Continued.

"Neon signs a-flashin', taxi cabs and buses passin' through the night
A distant moanin' of a train seems to play a sad refrain to the night
A rainy night in Georgia, such a rainy night in Georgia
Lord, I believe it's rainin' all over the world
I feel like it's rainin' all over the world."

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Eurythmics - "Here Comes the Rain Again" (1984)

Eurythmics Here Comes the Rain Again
Courtesy RCA

The Eurythmics gave us the sound of synthesized rain swirled in with the powerful emotion of unrequited love. The British Philharmonic Orchestra performed the string arrangements in the song. This was the Eurythmics' second top 10 pop hit in the US landing at #4 in 1984. It also reached the top 10 on both the adult contemporary and dance charts. 

During an in-studio concert broadcast on the A&E Network in the U.S., the Eurythmics' Dave Stewart explained the origin of "Here Comes the Rain Again." He was writing songs with bandmate Annie Lennox at the Columbus Hotel in New York City. They got into an argument, and after the fight ended, Lennox looked out the window of the hotel and said, "Here comes the rain again."

"Here comes the rain again
Falling on my head like a memory
Falling on my head like a new emotion
I want to walk in the open wind
I want to talk like lovers do
I want to dive into your ocean
Is it raining with you?"

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Creedence Clearwater Revival - "Who'll Stop the Rain" (1970)

Creedence Clearwater Revival Who'll Stop the Rain
Courtesy Liberty

Creedence Clearwater Revival uses a metaphor of the rain to speak about seemingly endless times of confusion and misery. The frustration with rain in the song is a metaphor for anger with the Vietnam War. "Who'll Stop the Rain" became the band's fourth #2 hit single in 1970. The song was used as the theme for the 1978 film Who'll Stop the Rain starring Nick Nolte as a Vietnam veteran.

Bruce Springsteen has performed "Who'll Stop the Rain" in concert frequently. At the 1993 induction of Creedence Clearwater Revival into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bruce Springsteen performed the song live with John Fogerty, leader of the band.

"Long as I remember the rain been coming down
Clouds of myst'ry pouring confusion on the ground
Good men through the ages, trying to find the sun
And I wonder, still, I wonder, who'll stop the rain."

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B.J. Thomas - "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" (1969)

BJ Thomas Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head
Courtesy A&M

Hal David and Burt Bacharach wrote this song for the soundtrack to the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. In a twist on typical rain songs, it speaks about the inability of the rain to douse faith in the return of happiness. The song won an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and after being released in late 1969, it opened the 1970s at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 where it stayed for four weeks. It also spent seven weeks at #1 on the adult contemporary chart.

Ray Stevens was the first choice for recording "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head," but he turned it down in favor of "Sunday Morning Coming Down" written by Kris Kristofferson. The song was the first #1 pop hit for B.J. Thomas following his top 10 successes "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" and "Hooked on a Feeling."

The American Film Institute picked "Raindrops Keep Fallin' On My Head" as one of the top 25 film songs of all time. The Grammy Hall of Fame inducted the song in 2014. 

"Raindrops keep fallin' on my head
And just like the guy whose feet are too big for his bed
Nothin' seems to fit
Those raindrops are falling on my head; they keep fallin'."

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Beatles - "Rain" (1966)

Beatles Rain
Courtesy Capitol Records

John Lennon explained that the Beatles' "Rain" is "about people moaning about the weather all the time." Appearing as the B-side for "Paperback Writer," the song was one of the very first to utilize backward vocal tracks. They consist of John Lennon singing parts of the lyrics. 

Promotional music videos were filmed for "Rain." Michael Lindsay-Hogg, known for his work with both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, directed the clips. Referencing the film clips made for "Rain," George Harrison of the Beatles said, "So, I suppose, in a way, we invented MTV." Ringo Starr has said that he believes "Rain" contains his best performance on the drums. The song climbed up to #23 on the US pop chart while the A-side "Paperback Writer" reached #1.

"I can show you
That when it starts to rain
Everything's the same
I can show you."

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Ann Peebles - "I Can't Stand the Rain" (1973)

Ann Peebles - I Can't Stand the Rain
Courtesy Hi

Rain does have the ability to usher in painful memories. Memphis soul singer Ann Peebles brings that fact home powerfully here. "I Can't Stand the Rain" became her biggest and only top 40 pop hit reaching #38 in 1973 while landing inside the top 10 on the R&B chart. The album of the same title reached the top 25 on the album chart, the highest charting of all of Ann Peebles' albums. She co-wrote the song with Hi Records staff songwriter Don Bryant and DJ Bernie Miller.

The disco group Eruption covered "I Can't Stand the Rain" in 1978 and took it to #18 on the US pop chart. Their version also landed in the top 10 on the disco chart. Tina Turner covered "I Can't Stand the Rain" on her 1984 Private Dancer album.

"I can't stand the rain 'gainst my window
Bringing back sweet memories
I can't stand the rain 'gainst my window
'Cause he's not here with me."


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Rihanna featuring Jay-Z - "Umbrella" (2007)

Rihanna - Umbrella featuring Jay-Z
Courtesy Def Jam

Rihanna will help protect you from the rain of life with her umbrella. The metaphor is used here to spell out the value of real friendship. "Umbrella" was an international #1 smash hit in 2007. It spent seven weeks at #1 in the U.S. Rihanna, and Jay-Z earned a Grammy Award for Best Rap / Sung Collaboration for "Umbrella." It earned nominations for both Record and Song of the Year. The accompanying music video also won the Video of the Year award at the MTV Video Music Awards.

The song came into existence when producer and songwriter Christopher "Tricky" Stewart was working in the studio with Terius "The-Dream" Nash and Kuk Harrell. They were captivated with a hi-hat cymbal sound included in the Macintosh computer's GarageBand software. Soon they were writing words to go with the hook generated. They originally intended the song for Britney Spears, but her management rejected it.

"When the sun shines, we'll shine together
Told you I'll be here forever
Said I'll always be a friend
Took an oath, I'ma stick it out till the end."

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Prince - "Purple Rain" (1984)

Prince Purple Rain
Courtesy Warner Bros.

One of Prince's signature songs, "Purple Rain" builds powerful emotion from the opening with a lone guitar through powerful rising choruses and ultimately a searing guitar solo. Prince spent two weeks at #2 with "Purple Rain" in 1984. Following Prince's death in 2016, the song "Purple Rain" returned to the top 10 on the US pop singles chart.

Prince originally intended "Purple Rain" to be a country song and a collaboration with Stevie Nicks. Instead, while working on the song with his band, it evolved into a rock power ballad. Prince intended the purple rain to represent the end of the world, a combination of blue water and red blood in the sky.

"I never meant to cause you any sorrow
I never meant to cause you any pain
I only wanted one time to see you laughing
I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain."

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Lou Christie - "Rhapsody In the Rain" (1966)

Lou Christie Rhapsody In the Rain
Courtesy MGM

Yes, the sound of rain can be a hypnotic accompaniment to making out and going "much too far." This song was so evocative of sex taking place that many radio stations banned the song. Consequently, it only reached #16 on the pop singles chart, but it remains one of the most memorable hits of pop singer Lou Christie's career. He co-wrote "Rhapsody In the Rain" with Twyla Herbert who also worked on the top 10 hit "Lightnin' Strikes." Charlie Calello, who played bass with the Four Seasons, produced "Rhapsody In the Rain."

The melody of "Rhapsody In the Rain" is based on Tchaikovsky's "Romeo and Juliet." Following the controversy over this song, Lou Christie failed to find a follow-up hit until three years later in 1969 when "I'm Gonna Make You Mine" reached the pop top 10.

"Baby, the raindrops play for me
A lonely rhapsody 'cause on our first date
We were makin' out in the rain
And in this car our love went much too far
It was exciting as thunder
Tonight I wonder, where you are?"

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Carpenters - "Rainy Days and Mondays" (1971)

Carpenters Rainy Days and Mondays
Courtesy A&M

Has there ever been a mainstream pop voice so effortlessly melancholy as that of Karen Carpenter? When she says a rainy day gets her down, it's impossible not to believe it. In 1971, this became the duo's fifth consecutive song to reach the pop top 3. It also went all the way to #1 on the adult contemporary chart.

The instrumental backing for "Rainy Days and Mondays" is provided by the legendary studio conglomeration the Wrecking Crew which originally included later solo stars Glen Campbell and Leon Russell. "Rainy Days and Mondays" was co-written by Roger Nichols and Paul  Williams who also wrote the Carpenters' "We've Only Just Begun."

"What I've got they used to call the blues
Nothin' is really wrong
Feelin' like I don't belong
Walkin' around
Some kind of lonely clown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down."

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